Panic Attack Vs Anxiety Attack

By: Dzhingarov

At any moment, it can be terrifying to feel fearful, leading to physical symptoms such as racing heart, sweaty palms and breathing issues.

People often refer to what is commonly referred to as an “anxiety attack” as feelings of anxiety that don’t reach panic levels, yet can last several days or weeks and aren’t as intense.


Have you experienced the horror of a panic attack before? Symptoms can appear suddenly and unexpectedly; symptoms could include chest pains, or the belief that you might die of asthma attack or another illness; attacks can occur while driving, at a mall, sleeping or attending business meetings – though usually their effects dissipate quickly once symptoms dissipate.

Anxiety disorders share many similarities with panic attacks, yet typically appear over time. You might experience anxiety symptoms while preparing to give a speech or perform in front of a crowd; those symptoms might then escalate as the event approaches leading to anticipatory anxiety – more of a mental health condition than an abrupt attack.

It’s essential that those experiencing panic or anxiety attacks receive professional assistance as soon as they interfere with their daily life. Therapy or medication may help manage symptoms and stop recurrences; relaxation exercises like deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness may also provide valuable relief from anxiety and relax the body. Furthermore, family and friends provide invaluable support and provide tips for dealing with anxiety more effectively.

Panic attacks and anxiety attacks differ considerably, yet you might hear these terms used interchangeably due to some similarities in symptoms. Anxiety is a prevalent mental health condition that can be difficult to diagnose and treat; it typically affects children and young adults more than other demographics; causes of anxiety may include trauma events, genetics, chronic stress or substance abuse as well as intense fears such as social anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and certain phobias.

No matter if or how severe your panic disorder, it’s crucial to recognize its symptoms so you can seek treatment as soon as they arise. Psychotherapy and medications are two effective options available; talk therapy may also be effective at helping identify triggers of anxiety attacks so you can alter unhealthy emotions and behaviors more quickly.


Anxiety typically arises in response to situations that seem threatening or stressful, building gradually over time and eventually reaching extreme levels in some individuals. Anxiety can range in intensity depending on its source; symptoms could include mild, moderate, or severe distress depending on its intensity for a particular individual.

An anxiety attack is a sudden surge of distressing symptoms that often appear out of nowhere and have no apparent source. An anxiety attack may feel like being hit by a wave and can happen at any time – at work or school, driving in their vehicle, even sleeping!

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An anxiety attack may include shaking, sweating, difficulty breathing and nausea – symptoms which can often be difficult to distinguish from panic attacks.

Drs. Koch and Kushnick explain that stress is typically the source of panic attacks. According to them, stress levels may build gradually over time or be precipitated by specific situations that provoke an attack of anxiety.

People experiencing panic attacks may be diagnosed with panic disorder if their attacks recur frequently and their symptoms are severe, according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria, which classifies panic attacks into two categories – expected or unexpected attacks; expected panic attacks typically follow an anxiety-inducing event while unexpected ones often have no such triggers at all.

No matter the form or severity of anxiety, seeking medical assistance when symptoms become uncontrollable or severe can be beneficial in improving daily life. Consulting a physician if symptoms increase significantly or you take medications which could increase risk for an anxiety attack is also strongly suggested. Finding a therapist to manage anxiety and teach coping techniques may also be useful; otherwise your doctor may prescribe medication temporarily – although medication usually doesn’t offer long-term relief like cognitive behavioral therapy does.


Many people mistakenly use the terms panic attack and anxiety attack interchangeably; however, they’re two distinct mental health concerns. An anxiety attack refers to periods of elevated levels of anxiety while panic attacks refer to sudden bursts of symptoms with specific criteria that can be diagnosed by medical professionals.

An individual experiencing a panic attack will typically exhibit physical symptoms like dizziness, breathlessness and chest pain, as well as emotional ones like fear of death and worry that they are losing control. Such feelings may be precipitated by stressors like an automobile accident or public speaking engagement, though it can occur spontaneously without warning.

Doctors typically ask their patients how they’re feeling before asking any specific questions regarding when and why these episodes began occurring, how frequently, as well as running tests to rule out physical causes like heart disease or thyroid problems as possible culprits.

Anxiety is a normal part of our bodies’ natural, protective reactions to stressful situations; however, when it persists and interferes with daily living it becomes an issue. If anxiety symptoms become excessive and disruptive to life your doctor may diagnose you with one of several psychological disorders like social anxiety disorder, OCD, health anxiety or specific phobias.

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The 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not list anxiety attacks directly, but instead details underlying anxiety disorders that can trigger them. A therapist can assist in helping overcome fears and anxieties to reduce symptoms and enhance quality of life.

Medication may also help with anxiety and panic attacks, either alone or combined with psychotherapy to manage symptoms, including antidepressants and benzodiazepines. Cognitive-behavioral therapy – which reshapes negative thought patterns – has proven highly successful for treating anxiety disorders. A therapist will work closely with you to teach healthy coping mechanisms that will alleviate your symptoms as well as stop further attacks in the future.


If a person experiences frequent panic or anxiety attacks, this could be a telltale sign of an underlying mental health disorder. Consulting a professional can help them understand what’s happening as well as learn ways to manage symptoms effectively.

Psychotherapy and medication are effective solutions for panic and anxiety attacks. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline or Zoloft, paroxetine (Paxil), and fluoxetine (Prozac), are FDA-approved SSRIs that may help decrease the frequency of panic attacks and depression. Other medications like Benzodiazepines can also be taken during or soon after an attack begins, working quickly to alleviate symptoms quickly – common examples being Clonazepam/Klonopin and Alprazolam/Xanax).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy designed to teach individuals how to change the way they think and behave. Participants work with their therapist to identify and address thoughts or emotions contributing to anxiety – this process may occur either face-to-face or via online or video counseling services.

Anxiety and panic attacks can be disabling. If they’re interfering with your ability to live the life you want, taking immediate steps should be taken. First speak with a healthcare provider; next find a mental health specialist who can provide additional assistance.

Relaxation techniques may also provide relief during an anxiety attack, beyond medications and psychotherapy. Progressive muscle relaxation entails tensing and relaxing muscles throughout your body. Visualization uses images with soothing scenes to reduce anxiety. Physical activity, which has many health benefits including improving mood and overall well-being is another helpful form of therapy, as is confiding in friends or family for support if that can help relieve some pressure. Furthermore, suppressing emotions only serves to amplify them further.